Attract Butterflies to Your Garden with a DIY Butterfly House

Make your own wooden butterfly house by following simple DIY instructions online — use proper wood, make narrow entrances, and paint it in bright colors using nontoxic paint.

Features of an Ideal Butterfly House

Butterfly houses are typically around 2 feet (60 centimeters) tall with a diameter of about 5 inches (12.7 centimeters). They also have multiple long and narrow entrances. The insides of the butterfly house have 3 bark pieces placed vertically for butterflies to rest on.

A butterfly house should be made of wood. You can build one out of pine, redwood, or cedar. If you have some leftover scrapwood in your yard, you can use that as well.

Where to Put Your Butterfly House

diy butterfly house
Attract butterflies with a DIY butterfly house

The best location for a butterfly house is a sunny spot sheltered from the wind. Mount it on a pole or tree 4 to 6 feet (121.9 to 182 centimeters) above the ground. Attach it well so it doesn’t swing in the wind.

Finally, position your DIY butterfly habitat close to nectar flowers. If you don’t have any pollinator-attracting nectar-rich plants, consider planting lavender, thyme, catmint, or bee balms. Salvias are also a great choice. Other plants that can attract butterflies in your flower garden are:

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  • Torch lilies
  • Salvias
  • Fuschias
  • Spider flowers
  • Marigolds
  • Butterfly weeds

Is a Butterfly House a Hard DIY Project?

Making a butterfly house is an easy and affordable DIY project. There are various DIY butterfly house plans online, so you can follow simple step-by-step instructions even if you’re a woodworking beginner.

Most plans explain which materials you’ll need, provide a cutting list for a piece of wood dimensions, and list the tools such as:

  • Jigsaw
  • Handsaw
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Screwdriver
  • Sandpaper
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure

Remember to mark the spots where you’ll drill holes before you begin working. The plan will likely explain how to connect the front piece and the back piece to the side pieces, the roof piece, and the base. One side panel is usually liftable, while the front panel is closed and has a couple of elongated vertical entrances for easier butterfly house management and use.

Why Make Your Own Butterfly House?

By making your own butterfly house, you help the butterfly population and the ecosystem in your garden. You protect butterflies from predators and storms by offering shelter and spot to safely lay eggs. Plus, you support natural plant pollination by attracting more butterflies to your backyard.

Do butterflies actually use butterfly houses?

Butterflies should use the house to shelter from bad weather and predators. If you also offer some food, they’ll definitely visit the house. However, some butterfly house owners claim these insects don’t actually visit, and would rather check out the mud puddle.

Tips for Attracting Butterflies

Here are some tips for attracting butterflies to your butterfly house and garden:

  • Make and place sugar water or overripe or rotting fruit inside the butterfly house
  • Maintain the butterfly house regularly for a healthy environment
  • Plant common caterpillar host plants like milkweeds
  • Plant native flowers to your area in sunny parts of your garden
  • Avoid insecticides and pesticides
  • Add flat stones to your garden to serve as resting and sunbathing spots
  • Make a butterfly puddler — a dish with sand, water, and salt where they can obtain minerals

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